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General Information


Founded only in 1857 as a tin mining outpost, Kuala Lumpur is fairly new as far as Malaysian cities go and lacks the rich history of George Town or Malacca. After rough early years marked by gang fighting, Kuala Lumpur started to prosper and was made capital of the Federated Malay States in 1896. Malaysia's independence was declared in 1957 in front of huge crowds at what was later named Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), and Kuala Lumpur continued as the new nation's capital. The economic boom of the 1990s brought KL the standard trappings of a modern city, bristling with skyscrapers and modern transportation systems. Like most of Malaysia's big cities, about 55% of Kuala Lumpur's population is of Malaysian Chinese descent.




Despite having many attractions, Kuala Lumpur is one of

 those cities which is short on must-see attractions: the real

 joy lies in wandering randomly, seeing, shopping and

 eating your way through it. It's hot, humid and sometimes

crowded though, so schedule some air-conditioned

downtime in shopping malls or restaurants into your plan.

You may find that most attractions are only crowded on

weekends/holidays and deserted on weekdays.

The following gives a brief description of KLs attractions

according to district. See the respective district pages for

more details.

The main attractions are spread throughout the city,

although the greatest concentration of places of interest are

in the City Centre, where youll find Dataran Merdeka

(Independence Square), where Malaysia would

usually celebrate the Malaysian independence day

(the exact spot where independence was declared at the

start of Aug 31, 1957 is at the Stadium Merdeka);

the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and other Colonial-era

buildings surrounding the square; the modern and rather

unadorned National Mosque; the Moorish-style Kuala Lumpur Railway Station which

now houses a mini-museum on Malaysian railway history; many of KLs other museums including the recently refurbished National Museum (RM2) tracing the history of the region through prehistory and the Malaccan

empire to Independence, and

the extremely well-regarded

Islamic Arts Museum (RM12, 10-6PM),

and the nearby 'Police Museum;

and the pretty Lake Gardens to the west.

Within the city centre is also the

fascinating narrow streets of Chinatown,

KLs traditional commercial district,

with its many Chinese shops and places

to eat.

Another area of interest to the traveller

 is the Golden Triangle. Although

predominantly a shopping and night-life

district, it is also home to the

Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and

the Petronas Twin Towers, once the worlds tallest building. In the nearby KL Convention Centre is the Aquaria KLCC which contains some 5,000 varieties of tropical fish. Just south of the Twin Towers is Menara KL Tower, which is situated on top of Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill), a forest reserve right in the heart of the city. PDA-Guided views from Menara Tower (RM38, 9AM-10PM) being at 276m, are far superior than those from the Petronas Towers (viewing deck at 170m), and come highly recommended since it allows first time visitors the chance to quickly orient themselves about the layout of the city. It is however, not a particularly easy place to reach by public transport, so use either a taxi or the "hop-on/hop-off" tourist bus that makes a continuous circuit through the city.

There are also several attractions just outside Kuala Lumpur which are worth visiting. The Batu Caves in the Northern suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, are located in a limestone outcrop and are the focal point of the fascinating annual Thaipusam festival, usually held in February. The caves are easily accessible by KTM's kommuter mass transit rail service and RapidKL bus U6 from Titiwangsa station, though ask the driver to let you know the correct stop as the caves are not immediately obvious. Do some light cave exploring in Batu Caves which is really fascinating. The entrance is 50 ft below the main temple cave and on the left as you climb. The event will be memorable and is not risky even for children as young as 3 years. Another option is to catch Metrobus 11 for RM2 at Lorong Bas, near Central Market. Malaysias National Zoo (Zoo Negara) is also located in the north of the city.

 KL Bird Park (free-flight walk-in aviary), 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, Taman Tasik Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur (Next to Islamic Art Museum in the City Centre), +60322721010. 9:00-18:00. Great semi-wild habitat for many different species of mostly Asian birds. The Bird Park allows you to approach quite close to the birds which are skittish but not fearful for some very nice photos. A bit pricey, but makes for a nice long day in a mostly shaded area. Feedings and shows throughout the day give something to see at any time, and the 20+ acres provide plenty of area to walk and explore. The photo booth offers a wide array of tamed birds that will happily sit on you and pose for photos for a small price (RM 8 per person: your camera, 2 birds; RM 25 per print: glossy printout of your group covered in birds). Concession stands are priced fairly and offer drinks, ice cream, etc. Bring bug spray as the mosquitoes can be rampant. RM 42 (adult), RM 29 (child).



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Kuala Lumpur Railway Station

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